According to Cambridge Dictionary, propaganda is defined as “information, ideas, opinions, or images, often only giving one part of an argument, that are broadcast, published, or in some other way spread with the intention of influencing people’s opinions”.

One more definition of the same word:


David Welch from the University of Kent talks about propaganda in his interview to the British Library: “Propaganda is the dissemination of ideas intended to convince people to think and act in a particular way and for a particular purpose. It’s crucial to understand that it’s the instigator’s purpose that defines or distinguishes propaganda from other similar forms of activity such as advertising and education. While definitions have changed, the concept of propaganda has not really changed. But what has changed are the means of communications from the early print media both written and visual to the electronic thinking..obviously a film, radio, television and of course now the Internet and this change in the means of communications has had a profound effect on both the speed with which propaganda is being disseminated and also the scale on which it has been disseminated”.

Here is the full video:

Famous propaganda posters

Uncle Sam is the national personification of the USA. He symbolizes the USA in American Culture since the 19th century.

The poster was created in 1917 to call Americans to serve in the USA Army. Some 2 million or more Americans signed up to fight in France during the WW1. Many may have been inspired by James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic Uncle Sam “I Want YOU” poster. Over 4 million copies were plastered onto walls and signposts throughout the USA. Within weeks, almost all the American citizens had already seen it.

Symbol of anti-Americanism, this poster, by Harald Damsleth ,was used by Nazi Germany to promote anti-Americanism. It shows the “immorality of beauty pageants”, the problem of gun violence in the USA, a boxing-glove holding a money bag and also the mechanical creature of the poster has a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Harald Damsleth drifted away from modernism, a style qualified as “degenerate” by national socialists, and got closer to naturalistic style. His also had some Russophobe posters. In 1950, Damsleth was sentenced to five years of hard labor for treason committed during World War II, but was pardoned after two years served.

Shepard Fairey‘s “Hope” poster inspired Donald Trump’s “Nope” poster. In a sense, the “Nope” poster may also be considered as “propaganda”, but compared to the “hope” poster, the “Nope” poster tries to warn that there may be some dangers if Trump is elected.

In 2010, The Colbert Report’s Stephen Colbert asked Fairey: “How’s that “Hope” working out for you now?” Fairey’s answer: “There were things I admire about Obama and things I’m disappointed in – such as drone strikes. I’m unhappy that he didn’t dismantle the surveillance state and he defended domestic spying. But there’s nobody that’s going to be perfect.”

Rosie the Riveter symbolizes feminine power and independence. It has different versions, celebrates women emancipation and therefore is linked to feminism.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the USA government called upon manufacturers to produce greater amounts of warfare. In 1942, Westinghouse Electric’s internal War Production Coordinating Committee hired the Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller through an advertising agency, to create posters for raising workers’ morale. 42 posters designed by Miller were showcased in the factory for two weeks, then replaced by the next one in the series.  Among all the posters depicting worker’s strength, was the yellow poster with a strong female figure with the words “We Can Do it.”


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